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'Students' news articles

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Kingston University takes steps to close the BME attainment gap

Posted Monday 16 March 2015

Students in a group study session at Penrhyn Road campusThe gap in attainment between BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) and other students has been a long-standing concern across the whole higher education sector. However, Kingston University is now about to play a key role in addressing this important national issue.

Following a recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor and, with the endorsement of the University's Board of Governors on 4 March 2015, Kingston University will now continue to build on work undertaken over the past three years. Led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), the University will introduce initiatives that aim to ensure students from BME backgrounds get the very most out of their time at university, achieve their full potential, and leave with great prospects.

Kingston University aims to lead nationally and will focus its efforts to improve institutional processes, enhance knowledge and skills, and better support its diverse range of students.

The decision is based on a several key factors:

• Across the UK, BME students are less likely to achieve their potential when compared to white students even where entry qualifications and subjects studied are identical.
• The University has a majority of BME students and wants to ensure all students realise their full potential.
• There is a need to address a complex range of influences. Only some factors relate to students' circumstances (e.g. many live at home, have caring responsibilities, need to work to support themselves), which distracts from their ability to learn and study. Other factors relate to the way a higher education institution behaves, such as ensuring there is a climate which is welcoming to all students and a curriculum which is relevant to all student experiences.

As a result the University has now adopted:

1. The reduction of the BME attainment gap as an institutional KPI.
2. A value-added score system, as used in the Guardian league tables, as the key metric.
3. An Achievement Plan containing key initiatives that improve the institution, knowledge and skills, and student outcomes.

Students discussing their studies at a seminar at Penrhyn Road campusThe Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University, Professor Julius Weinberg, said: "By adopting this approach, Kingston University is seeking to further identify the main issues and then take steps to ensure all students achieve their full potential. Our initial focus will be on disseminating clear accurate data, supporting those courses with the largest attainment gap, increasing understanding of diversity and cultural differences, as well as offering support to ensure the curriculum is inclusive and relevant."

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds, said: "We are making it a key priority to ensure that the University offers all students an equal opportunity to succeed. We know from research that BME students often have less self-confidence than white students and so we have introduced some key opportunities that we know make a difference.

"For example our Student Associate Programme has shown that 92.9% of those BME students who engage with it progress in their studies, whilst only 77.9% of those who do not engage, progress. Also, our Student Leadership Project run by student services showed a progression rate of 88% for BME students who engaged, and only 79% for those who did not. All of these opportunities are designed to build self-confidence and develop the skills that are valued by employers and are likely to make students succeed in their assessments."

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at Kingston University


Students from the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment ‘think critically to make a difference' for South African settlement

Posted Thursday 5 March 2015

A student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingA student with some of the village children - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingKingston University students and academics flew to South Africa for a two-week field course that saw them actively involved in the lives of locals in different locations. This included working with the residents of Village Heights - an impoverished informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Working with the community and with landscape architects and representatives from the Cape Town municipality the students cleared land to create a community garden, shifting 250 bags of household waste, concrete blocks, old mattresses and rubber tyres. Village Heights inhabitants often build their homes with corrugated iron, offcuts of wood, polythene and other found materials. They even created benches, chairs and a see-saw from the debris. The organic compost for the garden was funded by the carbon credits the students bought to offset the carbon footprint caused by their trip.

The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming The school of Geography, Geology and the Environment students on their trip to South Africa - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming

The School of Geography, Geology and the Environment were invited to Village Heights through links Kingston University lecturers had built with the Cape Town municipality over several years. This trip gives students a unique opportunity to work with locals and debate development issues in a real-life context while learning more about the challenges facing residents while outside of a classroom setting.

Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne Cumming Making use of found materials to create playground activities - Photo courtesy of Corinne CummingThe students all study the Development Geographies module, which introduces critical issues of development including resource management, poverty, exclusion, inequality, natural hazards, gender and conflict. The ethos behind the trip was think critically to make a difference. Different days focused on different issues such as socio-spatial inequality, legacies of apartheid, rural development and eco-tourism, carbon-neutral agricultural and ecological conservation strategies and land management challenges.

• Find out more about studying Geography at Kingston University
• Find out more about the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Kingston University.


Kingston University MBA among Europe's top 50 in QS Global 200 Business Schools ranking report 2015

Posted Friday 13 February 2015

Kingston Business School BuildingKingston Business School BuildingKingston Business School's full-time MBA has been ranked 43 out of 200 in the latest QS Fulltime MBA rankings of business schools across Europe. The survey asks international employers to select the schools from which they consider hiring MBA graduates. This information is combined with the QS Intelligence Unit survey of academics from all over the world each year to produce the final ranking.

Employers returning data in the European section included companies from the finance, technology and consulting sectors including Google, Bloomberg, PWC, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, AXA and more. Experienced HR and line managers from each company are asked a series of questions about MBA recruitment in the previous and the forthcoming year. They are then asked to list, unprompted, the international schools from which they have recently attempted to recruit MBAs.

This is the first year that Kingston University has been included in this ranking. Recent improvements to the MBA programme include a renewed focus on the global nature of business, offering students opportunities to study modules in both Berlin and Moscow, and the introduction of a dedicated MBA careers coach and an MBA Careers Week.

Most recently, Kingston Business School has partnered with the prestigious Boston University in the USA to offer postgraduates a high-quality, international education leading to a dual degree from the two institutions. Kingston Business School's international collaborations include delivering the Kingston MBA with a partner in Moscow - the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration. This MBA has been ranked number one in Russia several times.

Ron Tuninga, dean of the Faculty of Business and Law welcomed the new ranking, saying that it was a tremendous achievement for the Business School and highly deserved; "We now rank more highly than some well-known schools on the continent such as Vlerick School of Business in Belgium." Chris Bristow, director of the MBA programmes, said: "It is a tribute both to the teaching team and the excellent MBA participants who join us from far and wide to make this a truly international, transformational programme".


Olympian adventurer James Cracknell inspires Sports Performance students as he talks about his sports challenges and goals

Posted Tuesday 20 January 2015

Olympian adventurer James Cracknell inspires Sports Performance students as he talks about his sports challenges and goals

James Cracknell talks to students about achieving goalsMulti-gold winning medallist James Cracknell gave an inspirational speech at his recent visit to Kingston University – talking to students about his road to Olympic and World Championship success and the challenges he has faced since.

James had an illustrious international rowing career, winning two Olympic gold medals and six gold medals in the World Championships. He is also well known for his endurance feats. In 2006 he rowed across the Atlantic Ocean with Ben Fogal, which he says taught him a lot about how to approach challenges....


Kingston University architecture graduate Simon Dean awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bronze Medal for the best degree-level design project

Posted Friday 16 January 2015

A recent Kingston University graduate has received one of the most prestigious international awards in architectural education, beating submissions from 317 schools of architecture in 61 countries. Simon Dean, who graduated from the University's BA (Hons) Architecture course in 2014, was presented with The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bronze Medal for the best degree-level design project, at the RIBA Presidents Medals award ceremony.

Simon's project, entitled Flow 1944, was chosen by a distinguished panel of judges. It was produced as part of Kingston University's School of Architecture and Landscape's examination of sites within UNESCO World Heritage contexts and proposes a design for a bathhouse carved into solidified lava that erupted from Mount Vesuvius in 1944.

Announcing Simon's award David Gloster, RIBA director of Education said: "The judges were impressed with the student's beautifully crafted images and models and how these delicately created a seductive landscape from which a new architecture may be born."

Simon Dean (centre) is presented with his RIBA Bronze Medal by Roz Barr, RIBA vice-president Education and Stephen Hodder, RIBA president.Simon Dean (centre) is presented with his RIBA Bronze Medal by Roz Barr, RIBA vice-president Education and Stephen Hodder, RIBA president.

The RIBA President's Medals are considered the world's most prestigious and established awards in architectural education. The Bronze and Silver medals are of equal merit, being presented to students at different stages of their education. The Bronze medal recognises the design work of students at Part 1 - normally the first three of five years of the professional qualification in architecture. The Silver Medal goes to students at Part 2 - usually the last two years of the architecture qualification. A Dissertation Medal was introduced in 2001 to reward written work produced at either Part 1 or 2.

Simon's work will now form part of an exhibition of selected awards' entries at the RIBA headquarters in London for two months, before touring the UK and overseas. His success follows notable achievements for other past Kingston University students. In 2013, Minghui Ke and Shapur Keshvari received commendations in the Bronze Medal and Dissertation Medal categories respectively. The Royal Institute of British Architects is the oldest and most influential architectural institution in the world. It has over 43,000 members internationally, including 13,000 students.

• Find out more about the School of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston University.


Kingston University student brings her expertise to new 'London is my Campus' app

Posted Wednesday 24 December 2014

Kingston University student brings her expertise to new 'London is my Campus' app

London is an exciting city, but it can be daunting, especially for students living away from home for the first time or those arriving from overseas. Because of this London universities often suffer unfairly in National Student Survey (NSS) categories relating to living costs, crime, transport and lack of a campus environment. Now, a new smartphone app is being developed by students and industry experts to address this and support London students, and a Kingston University postgraduate has won a place on its design team.

Mann Kaur is one of six students currently studying in London selected to work on the app, London is my Campus, bringing her experience of London and her creativity and technical expertise to a project that will allow her to discuss her work with technology experts at Google....


Kingston University Chancellor Bonnie Greer awards prize in new short story competition

Posted Friday 19 December 2014

Kingston University Chancellor Bonnie Greer awards prize in new short story competition

Michele Henningham's short story Muddy Love won the inaugural Bonnie Greer Stories to Read Aloud competition.A teacher from south London has won Kingston University's first Bonnie Greer Stories to Read Aloud competition.

Michele Henningham from Morden was awarded the honours by the University's Chancellor - award-winning American playwright, critic and media commentator Bonnie Greer OBE. Ms Greer chose the winner of the competition after hearing three finalists test the power of their stories by reading them out loud to an assembled audience at an award ceremony held in December. Ms Henningham received a prize of £1,000 for her gripping story, Muddy Love....


Launch of business incubator at Kingston Business School hopes to encourage and support Kingston's latest group of student entrepreneurs

Posted Thursday 18 December 2014

Kingston's first student-run business incubator space, which is to be known as the Kingston Nest, has been launched at Kingston Business School.

The Kingston Nest is a place for students to hatch Kingston's next phase of businesses, offering a space on campus where students can work on their business ideas with close access to their study areas. The Kingston Nest will be able to offer students advice and help registering their businesses, and has a capacity for up to 25 students to use the space at any one time.

The Kingston Nest was declared officially open by Dennis Aguma, President of the Kingston Entrepreneurs Society, and Professor Ronald Tuninga, Pro-Vice Chancellor Enterprise and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law.

Students from the Kingston Entrepreneurs SocietyStudents from the Kingston Entrepreneurs Society

Mr Aguma proclaimed the opening as "One small step for Kingston University, and one giant leap for Kingston Entrepreneurs." He continued, "now Kingston Entrepreneurs have a base from which to do what they do best: launch lots of businesses." For the last five years in a row, Kingston University has produced more graduate start-up companies than any other UK higher education institution.

Before cutting the ribbon to officially declare the Kingston Nest open, Professor Tuninga thanked the Kingston Entrepreneurs Society for helping so many of Kingston's students to realise their ambitions and stated that "the opening of the new Kingston Nest is just the start of a bigger project, and I hope to be able to give the incubator even more space in the future."

Professor Tuninga also announced the launch of a Kingston Entrepreneurs 'Brick Fund' to provide students with financial support with some of their business start-up costs.

The University's head of entrepreneurship education, Dr Martha Mador, was in attendance for the opening and reiterated Kingston's commitment to equipping its graduates with the confidence to try enterprise at an early stage in their careers.

In 2012/13 Kingston University helped business-minded alumni get 270 companies off the ground, and it is hoped that the Kingston Nest will help Kingston students start many more.

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